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A strange (perhaps) observation


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Okay...we all remember from Science 101 that our fingernails are actually hair, right? (That might be a bit simplified...but bear with me here, okay? :roll: )

Okay....so chemo or head radiation makes your hair fall OUT, right?

Then tell me why my fingernails are long and strong and in better shape than they've been in a long time!??

Anyone else notice this? I mean, if hair and nails are both comprised of fast growing cells (as is the gastro tract)....and chemo attacks fast growing cells (which includes cancer too)....wouldn't you expect an impact on your nails? :?

I just wondered if anyone else on chemo has noticed that while their hair has taken a hike, they have fingernails like Elvira? :shock:8)

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I've always had Elvira like nails -- they would grow as long as I'd let them, and are really tough. It takes a chainsaw to cut my toenails. (Well, not really, but you get the idea!)

I didn't notice a difference during chemo, but wasn't really paying attention I guess. The Pulmonologist told me that it was my nails that helped tip him off to my cancer at first -- wasn't getting much oxygen into my system at the time.

It may be the same with mine as yours, except you notice a big difference and mine have always been that way. I don't have a clue.


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Now that you mention it, my nails were nice and strong while on chemo. The one thing I experienced while I was on Taxotere was that not only did they get stronger, they also became quite colorful!

After every treatment, it left a "stripe" on my nails. The were pink and white striped for several months while I was on Taxotere and a couple of months afterward too. Like the rings on a tree trunk, the stripes went horizontal. I thought it was quite the fashion statement! 8)


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Hi Addie.

I must say that my nails were affected. Actually, the little stubby toenail actually fell off after treatment had ended and a couple of others wanted to but didn't. Ish.

Also, like TAnn, I had the chronological rings on my nails. Everytime I get really sick, I get the horizontal lines. Trauma of some kind happened during that time. My nails are still doing the trauma thing. But, I have hypothyroidism also. That plays a part in the skin and nail thing.

Cindi o'h

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Hey, Spunky, there is not ONE thing crummy about you!!!

You are perfect.

RE: Nails, Brian's are brittle and growing quickly.

The side affect that bothers him the most:



Poor guy................he gags on gum right now, and peppermints are okay for a temporary fix, but he is mortified!!

Lord love a duck! This chemo stuff sux!

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Addie -

My Mother-in-Law had the very same thing happen - she was taking taxotere for Ovarian Cancer - and her nails were beautiful and we could never figure out why. This is a very interesting observation.

Glad to hear the doc is making some adjustments so that you won't have another crash. Wishing you well!

Much Love,


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I can ask this question...but so far none of us has the answer. :? Guess I could "ask the experts"...but in the grand scheme of things...it's a rather paltry issue :roll: and in any event....hey, just enjoy the nice nails, huh? :wink:

I'm hypothyroid too...and still have the dry skin to prove that...as well has having faint ridges on all my nails...cuticle to tip. But my nail growth seems a lot faster these days...and my nails aren't so "soft" as they used to be...they are tougher, stronger.

I should probably paint them so they look really nice...but I can't be bothered, you know?

Anyway...it appears I'm not alone in this...and it is a rather strange phenomena.....huh? :?:

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Funny you should mention this.....at the stage I'm at it seemed a tad shallow to bring it up.

I have always had really good nails,they grew strong and long with a really good shape. During chemo they seemed to grow even better but put that down to my not doing a darn thing to break them - sitting or lying around is not exactly hard on the hands. But a few months after tx had finished I noticed that most of my nails were ridged (I mean real deep ridges) and were almost paper thin. They now break, split of just generally disappear in the blink of an eye. My cuticles are rough and almost totally ragged, all told my hands are a mess.

At this point I'll keep these nails if it means I stay NED, but I do think back fondly to my old hands with the long nails. To think I even used to do housework with no gloves and they stayed long........aaah the old days!

I'm going for my 6 month check up next month, I'll try and remember to ask the onc......can you hear it, excuse me top thoracic oncologist - you got rid of my cancer but can you tell me what's happened to my finger nails!

This man has a sense of humor so it could be a fun answer.

I'll let you know.


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Yup, me too. My first dose of Cis they turned yellow. It was yucky. But then they grew out and are incredible. Have never been this strong my whole life. Toenails too, to the point where I have had ingrown nails a couple times because they are so strong and fast growing.


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